Stotfold welcomed an Arsenal Charity XI of ex-professionals and celebrities for a fundraiser at Roker Park on xx.
More than £1000 was raised for Keech Hospice through gate takings, food stalls, raffle and auction as Arsenal played a Stotfold side made up from past and present players, management and coaching staff.
In a game played at a pace maybe slightly more modest than fans are used to at the Emirates, the visitors asserted themselves early on with Ant Anstead (For the Love of Cars TV presenter) thumping in the first of his hat-trick after just a minute’s play, and ex-Eastender and Dancing on Ice star Sam Attwater adding to it on the quarter hour.
Visiting ex-pros Barney Moir and Joe Baker kept a tight rein on midfield and defence, affording few clear cut opportunites for the hard-working Ben L’Honore who did win the free kick which first Team manager Rob Bates curled just wide, or Darren Clark who did find the net but was ruled offside.
Anstead scored again just before the interval, wheeling skillfully and finishing impressively from 15 yards.
After Stotfold’s Gary Hoy was poleaxed by Galatasary’s Evren Arkall, failure to bring the ball under control smartly enough twice confounded scoring chances for Bates, and in between times Anstead ran on to a through ball and completed his hat-trick.
Bates however, along with Kumanie Scarlett, played a key role in the two Stotfold goals which followed, putting through Parkin whose parried shot was collected by Scarlett who won a penalty, coolly converted by L’Honore, then directly setting up Scarlett who had only the keeper to beat.
Arkali combined with Adam Lawton to set up the first of two late goals for Gunners’ Joseph Harrison, the second a finish from Attwater’s cross.
Boys and girls from the Junior sections did their bit retrieving balls and participating in a half-time penalty shoot-out.
SXI: Michael Parkin, Steve Newman, Paul Donnelly, Gary Witherington, Dan Calver, Gary Hoy, Steve Albon (Keech), Rob Bates, Darren Clark, Ryan Cottenden, Ben L’Honore. Subs: Daz Adams, Brian Kelly, Jason New, Kumanie Scarlett, Michael White, Rob Verdai, Paul Slater, Dan Fallows, Matt Knopka, Dave Drury, Jamie Tolhurst
ACXI from: Omar Riza (ex-Arsenal), Evren Arkali (ex-Galatasary), Joe Baker (ex-Leyton Orient), Johnny Harrison (ex-Charlton), Paul Watson, Paul Wood, Ralf Little (actor Royle Family), George Martin, Jonjo Walsh, Tommy Walsh (TV Ground Force), Barney Moir (ex-Wimbledon), Joseph Harrison, Ant Anstead (TV presenter), Sam Attwater (Dancing on Ice), Stewart Wardley (ex-QPR), Adam Lawton.